The result of fear
as a child who is gay is not easy. One certainly learns very quickly that gay is
It is the fear that one will be found out that governs one’s life. It is the
belief that telling anyone would be a sheer disaster. Whether or not this is
true remains to be seen. Nevertheless the torment that one feels is sometimes
It is this very fear that often leads to lying to family, friends, and
co-workers. It is this lying that leads to alienation from friends and
co-workers. This is due to the feeling that one never really knows if one would
be accepted for whom they really are.
I suspect that those who ‘discover’ that they are gay in their twenties suffer
as well. The major difference is that those of us, who have known all along that
we were gay, have dealt with it longer.
If you are straight, then imagine this:
What if most of the people were gay and only a few were straight and it was
socially unacceptable to be straight?
You are just beginning to feel interested in the opposite sex.
What if you can not tell anyone about your crushes?
How would you find a person of the opposite sex who would be interested in you?
What if you can not look too long or lean too close to your lover for fear that
you would be noticed?
What would you do?
You do the best you can. You spend many, many lonely nights. When you talk to
people that you find interesting you ask telling questions, talk about diversity,
openness. You hope to find a kindred soul. Trust me; you are not hoping to
convert anyone. You just want a friend. You also want a lover someday (soon) who
is someone who chooses you.
Ah but we do work it out, gradually. And we eventually go to work. Only, we find
out that we can be fired by our bosses if they find out. Oh, even if they only
guess, the boss may just make life hell for you. You find that the work hours
that you are assigned are the worst. You notice that your evaluations go
gradually down. And you have been working as hard or harder. You ask your boss
but he doesn’t give you a valid answer. And so it goes..
This all plays out in the mind of the young gay male or lesbian. It effects each
of us differently. Some of us withdraw, withdraw withdraw. Some of us spend our
lives in and out of therapy either trying to become straight of trying to accept
our being gay. Some of us go on the offensive. There are some very hostile
members of our group. They probably have good reason to be hostile. The hostile
ones are in the minority. Most of us just quietly live our lives choosing our
friends very carefully and going about our business discretely. You don't notice
us much unless we write web pages. ;-)
By the way, as I child, I hated the words lesbian and queer. I had been so
completely socialized that I bought into the whole hate thing. And I hated
myself. It wasn't until my 40's that I even knew any queers. Some of them just
called themselves queer. And laughed. They had adjusted, accepted themselves and
moved on to other things. It was through them that I learned to accept myself.
But I still have the fear.
None of us ever forgets the torment or the fear. None of us is ever completely
free of the fear that one day some angry straight person will try to harm us
just because we are queer.
But then, in our society, just about anyone is a target anymore.